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Our Opinion: Building a Brawley future

September 30, 2001

After a long wait we are pleased to see the Rio Vista Center in Brawley is about to go through some major reconstruction.

Things are commencing following the signing of a deal between the owners of the center and Vons. It is has been quite some time since the IV Farms supermarket closed its doors, leaving a large vacancy in the heart of the center. That is where Vons will soon be found.

Phil Heald, one of the owners of the center, worked hard to make the planned redevelopment come to fruition. Along with Vons, a new building will be constructed for Rite Aid, Heald's Imperial Stores will move into the building now occupied by Rite Aid, and Heald said he is involved in talks to bring another major business to the center.

Heald is determined to complete the plans for the Rio Vista Center and we are sure he will do it. He has a long business history of getting things done that he promises he will do.


Heald said he is proud that the upgraded center will be a benefit to the city. He should be. Brawley needs as much positive growth as it can get. Having a vibrant shopping center on Main Street will be a key step toward helping bring growth to the city.

As the new Vons is constructed, leaving the current Vons building to the east on Main Street closed, the city will find itself with an opportunity. It's not a loss because Vons will continue to be an important part of the city.

When Vons vacates its old facility, which is right smack in the city center, the building could be transformed into any number of things, from a retail business to an entertainment center, perhaps a bowling alley.

The Brawley Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders are taking a close look at how to bring growth to the downtown, and the upgrade to the Rio Vista Center, and the ripple effect when Vons moves, could open a number of doors for the downtown effort.

With the upgrade to the Rio Vista Center, the building of the new beef plant, and new city water and wastewater plants, Brawley could find itself primed for development.

It takes hard work to bring growth, and people such as Heald have shown they are willing to work to both help their own business and the community to succeed.

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